Speakers at a book launching ceremony on Ashok Kumar Dewan’s work on Chakma history today paid rich tributes to him (Dewan) for his extraordinary reflections on Chakma history and language.
Noted Human Rights Activist Priscilla Raj’s book titled “Chakma Jatir Itihas Bichar ebong Ashok Kumar Dewan” (Evaluation of History of Chakma Nation and Ashok Kumar Dewan) was launched at the Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) Cafeteria on Dhaka University campus.
They said Ashok Kumar’s thoughtful and original contribution sheds light on many unknown corners of the history of this small but resilient people.
“A state or a land would be enriched a lot if there are scopes for practicing thoughts and cultures of various races. Considering these things, this book is very essential and relevant in the context of present Bangladesh,” Khushi Kabir, a human rights activist and convener of ‘Nijera Kori’, a non-government organisation, told the function as chief guest.
She also hoped the book would encourage writers to write such research-based book on history of different races in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Keynote speaker Prashanta Tripura, professor of anthropology and social science, said the book mentioned Chakma as a nation instead of a tribe.
Noted researcher and journalist Syed Abul Maksud said the book will play an important role in introducing the self-taught historian and linguists to greater audiences.
Poet and journalist Sohrab Hassan, Professor of Dhaka University History Department Mesbah Kamal, Social Worker Tandra Chakma and Lawyer Pratikar Chakma spoke at the function, among others. Born in Mogban village of Rangamati in 1926, Ashok Kumar became a respected teacher in Khagrachhari. But in private he extensively researched on Chakma history and language.
In 1978, he became director of Rangamati Tribal Cultural Institute. His book Chakma Jatir Itihas Bichar was published in 1991, after his death in the same year. The second volume of the book came out in 1993.